A black book cover with a photo of the legs of people sitting on a balcony over the heads of show-goers. The text is transparent

Underground: The Subterranean Culture of DIY Punk Shows

by Daniel Makagon Author

Underground is all about the history and future of DIY punk touring in the USA. Daniel Makagon explores the culture of DIY spaces like house shows and community-based music spaces, their impact on underground communities and economies, and why these networks matter. He shows that no matter who you are, organizing, playing, and/or attending a DIY punk show is an opportunity to become a real part of a meaningful movement and to create long-lasting alternatives to the top-down economic and artistic practices of the mainstream music industry. Punk kids playing an illegal show too loudly in someone's basement might not save the world, but they might just be showing us the way to building something better.


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Comments & Reviews


"...Stands out as a substantial work offering a level of ethnographic “thickness” which is all too rarely found in writing on punk...[It] provides a useful complement to the emphasis on practices of media production within the existing scholarly literature on DIY punk."



"...Explores the culture of DIY spaces like house shows and community-based music spaces, their impact on underground communities and economies…”



"A deep and accurate look at/analysis of the DIY house show/showspace circuit. It's written by a punk, interviews punks...[and] would be perfect to explain to your parents why you'd wanna drive around the country playing in basements and sleeping on floors for little more than gas money."


"Daniel Makagon is a breed of punkademic...[Underground] is an inclusive account of close-to-the ground democracy in action within the frenetic music communities that dot the ever-changing and tenuous American scenes. Straightforward, honest, and committed to his subjects..."


"...We get to see an inside look at the positives and negatives of holding performances in houses, garages, and shows in rented spaces. Overall, the book is not only informative, but it’s also quite enjoyable..."



“These are vivid, no-bullshit reports and how-to-guides that get to the very core of what Punk Rock means to those who embrace it as a force for positive and selfless change in their own lives.”


"The book is filled out with some photos of bands playing house shows, many of which capture the intensity and claustrophobic nature of such gigs...as an analysis of relationships within Punk spaces, Punk economics and the creation of communities within the DIY nature of house shows, this stands as a worthwhile read."



"This here is a whole book dedicated to mostly the inner-workings of basement shows. The author has interviewed a number of people who had lengthy involvement in booking shows... I can get down with a good chunk of it because there are a lot of good stories about different spaces getting busted up, or evading authorities, sneaky ways in which places kept going, and so forth."


"[T]he author explores the challenges in creating an alternative venue structure for both bands and promoters....if discovering how to set up your own show is your thing, then the strategies and experiences Makagon covers in this book make it a worthwhile read."



"Daniel Makagon’s Underground: The Subterranean Culture Of DIY Punk Shows surveys the community-based networks of America’s punk fraternity: systems of organisation that continue to transform the lives of those operating within the scene by establishing viable alternatives to the trickledown economics and artistic malpractices of the mainstream music industry."


"Daniel Makagon’s book, Underground: The Subterranean Culture of DIY Shows covers the scene in cities and towns of all sizes across the U.S., proving that punk is alive and well in places other than New York and Southern California...If you’re into punk rock (and might even be interested in setting up your own DIY shows), this book is indispensable."



"This is, to a great extent, one of those books I wish was around when I was playing in a band...It is not filled with witty recountings of life on the road; no amusing anecdotes about women, drugs or which promoter fucked which band over. It’s all of it, but done in a very direct, matter-of-fact manner (little wonder since Makagon is an academic) and I applaud it."



"Underground weaves interviews with punk band members and show promoters to flesh out an argument about the reasons why punk shows are at the core of doing DIY."



"With his rugged, detailed, uncensored journalistic approach, Daniel Makagon has trekked across the underbelly of the United States, documenting its various subversive music scenes...Adding historical insight with the salad days of the 1980s, to the year that punk broke in 1991, leading to alternative music dominating the mainstream airwaves for the first half of the decade and what DIY aficionados are still doing today to keep their scene(s) alive"



"Underground weaves interviews with punk band members and show promoters to flesh out an argument about the reasons why punk shows are at the core of doing DIY."



"In a word, if you are in a band – or thinking about starting one – and want to work your way into a scene, you really must get this book and read it, end to end. It’s a necessity. Call it mandatory reading."



"The book presents DIY punk shows as an opportunity to become part of a meaningful movement and create long-lasting alternatives to the top-down economic and artistic practices of the mainstream industry."


Daniel Makagon was there, and he's likely forgotten more about DIY than many of you will ever know.


"Daniel Makagon has written a book that truly takes us off the map and into the deepest pockets of the DIY punk scene in the USA. It’s written from the heart with great analytical and historical insight."


DIY punk shows and the communities they bring together have always been the heart and soul of punk culture. They stitch together all the music, moments and makeshift venues that give our collective ‘underground’ the kind of shape and meaning that makes it worthy of the name and worth claiming as our own. Underground is the first book to explore this subject matter in depth and with such substance, care and attention to detail. In conjunction with incredible stories and insights gleaned through his years of extensive interviews, Daniel Makagon draws upon ethnographic research and an expansive knowledge of punk media to construct new histories, lucid analyses, and a cartography of DIY punk that speaks to the importance of space, place, communication, and culture.